Just Say No to Francisco Cordero (And Brad Lidge, too) – Phillies Nation

Just Say No to Francisco Cordero (And Brad Lidge, too)

Francisco Cordero. (MLB)

UPDATE, 8:43 pm: Cordero is set to sign a one-year, $4.5 million deal with the Toronto Blue Jays to be their set-up man. That leads me to believe the Phillies were never serious suitors, because I assumed it would cost more than that to acquire Cordero. If the Phillies had offered $3-3.5 million for Cordero, I’d be happy with that number. Alas, he heads north.


It’s not that I don’t like the two relief pitchers. Brad Lidge will always have a place in my heart. He’ll go down as one of the best relievers in Phillies history, not to mention the most famous for his pose after throwing that beautiful slider to Carlos Ruiz in the 2008 World Series. We’ll always have those memories.

Francisco Cordero has been one of the best closers in all of baseball, posting 327 saves in his 12 seasons in the majors, including 30 or more in five straight. But with a run of ninth-inning pitchers flooding the marketplace this offseason, there just aren’t enough jobs out there.

Enter the Phillies, who look to be willing to add another veteran arm for the bullpen if the price is right. Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times says the Phillies are one of a handful of teams inquiring about the longtime closer. Inquiring is where it should end. The same goes for Lidge.

I’m one of Brad Lidge’s biggest fans; the dude was super-clutch for the Phillies in their title-winning year. He was one of the main reasons they have a ring. It was perfection from start to finish, something you don’t often see. However, who knows what is holding that arm together.

Lidge was sensational last season in only 19 appearances as he got a late start due to injury. He finished with a 1.40 ERA and held batters to a .225 average. Still, there are red flags.

Not only is his arm possibly glued together (lost count of how many cortisone shots he’s had), but he can’t get out righties. As odd as it may sound, lefties hit .097 against Lidge in 2011 with a miniscule .372 OPS. Against same-handed batters, Lidge allowed them to hit .325. It’s a small sample size and it’s also unlikely to be sustainable, but if Lidge can no longer get righties out – because he’s not fooling them any longer – then what good is he? He’s not going to shut down lefties and become a specialist.  It just doesn’t work that way.

What also doesn’t make much sense for Lidge is the money. If he’s looking for a major league, guaranteed deal, then that’s just too much. Anything more than $1-2 million for an aging arm would be a bad move for the Phillies, especially with the back end of the ‘pen mostly above 30. And knows how old Jose Contreras is at this point.

As for Cordero, do you really need two closers? He’ll likely command (just guessing) at least $5 million on a one-year deal, and will turn 37 this year. You’ve got a top three closer, one of the best lefties in baseball, and a bunch of young arms just waiting to break out. Look, not every bullpen is like the Atlanta Braves. But it doesn’t have to be. The Phillies won 102 games last year with a merry-go-round of guys. They’ll likely be fine without spending that sort of coin.

Really, I want to see Michael Schwimer, Justin DeFratus, or Joe Savery take the job and run with it. The Phillies can afford to take their chances this year as they’ll still have the best 1-2-3 rotation in baseball. Those guys will eat innings.

Hopefully, Ruben Amaro will stay away from the glow that Cordero will bring. And there’s no longer any sort of glow coming from Lidge, but it’s easy to call the guy back. That, too, would be the wrong move.

Click to comment


  1. Andrew from Waldorf

    January 24, 2012 at 2:31 am

    Paging Donny

    Fielder 8 years 165 million.

    Or about 5 million per less than you know who and only 6 years younger.

    The deals RAJ get more embarrassing over time.
    Also sucks that Prince will be right here in the division.

    Too bad the phils werent able to bid up prince a bit.
    But everyones hero is here till 2017.

    And just look at the RBIs. If its 12-1 you know hes clutch and there will be the hit.
    down 2-1 late in a game? not so much.

    I thnk Nats are 50-50

    Donny for the millionth time in all the years we have discussed here.
    See I told you so.
    I dont think youve ever been right.

    But dont stop believin.

    • Pat Gallen

      January 24, 2012 at 7:51 am


      • Phillibuster

        January 24, 2012 at 6:52 pm

        Hah, someone thinking that the Nats got Fielder at a discount rate.

      • Craig

        January 24, 2012 at 10:51 pm

        Yeah. What was that about?

    • Brian Sr. of CO

      January 24, 2012 at 10:49 pm

      News flash. Fielder to the Tigers for 9 years $214, NOT to the Nats for 8 years for 165. 1.3Mil less per you but for 9 years rather than 5. Sorry, doesnt make the deal RAJ gave any “more embarrasing over time” at all.

  2. Greg

    January 24, 2012 at 3:57 am

    It’s a shame that the credibility of this site, which does fantastic work editorial wise, has been 100% ruined since the day Andrew from Waldorf began posting here.

    I was one of the first members registered on this site when the new format/layout was created, and I used to enjoy coming here, reading the debates and what not, but it’s incredibly annoying having to read his crock of $#!7 every time one decides to check this site.

    I really can’t wait until Fielder signs for 8 years, 216million with the Orioles, and Howard ends up coming off the DL and finishing the year OPS-ing in the top 5 of the NL for the last 3 months of the season.

    I also can’t wait until you no longer post here anymore, so I can start to enjoy participating in the comments once again.

  3. Mazinman

    January 24, 2012 at 4:21 am

    Why is it that in a article about relief pitching the first thing mentioned is Fielder? There will be a time and a place to discuss his contract but, for now, I think we should discuss Pat’s article.

    I have to disagree with you, Pat, as long as the price is right. I do not want the Phillies to overpay for Cordero but if we can bring him in on a reasonable deal one year deal then by all means do it. Cordero gives us closing insurance in case Papelbon gets hurt during the year. Who else can we confidently say can close at this point? I am all for giving our kids a chance to pitch in the bullpen just not in the 8th or 9th.

    • Pat Gallen

      January 24, 2012 at 7:53 am

      Manziman, they wouldn’t be pitching in the 8th or 9th. That spot is supposed to be reserved for Bastardo/Contreras/Willis/Stutes, which I don’t have a problem with. Then the youngsters become throw-in guys, guys you use in the 5th, 6th, 7th. That’s how you build their confidence and that’s how they learn. You aren’t throwing them into tough situations right away.

      Mike Stutes learned some valuable lessons last year. David Herndon had a better year and these guys are still young. I want to see more of them and they’re cheap.

      • Ryne Duren

        January 24, 2012 at 9:03 am

        couldn’t agree more pat!

      • George

        January 24, 2012 at 10:49 am

        I disagree that the 8th/9th spot is supposed to be reserved for Bastardo/Contreras/Willis/ Stutes. For one thing, Contreras’ health is questionable. For another, Willis was signed as a lefty specialist, and so could enter at almost any inning as needed. Stutes will probably be the seventh inning guy, given his use most last season.

        I also disagree that the Phils can “afford to take their chances” even with their strong 1-2-3 rotation. They’ll still need to win a number of those 4-5 slots when Blanton (also an injury risk), Worley (possible sophomore jinx), or Kendrick are pitching.

        I do agree that Cordero would be a mistake due to cost. Lidge might be okay, but only at a low salary.

        DeFratus and/or others will get their chances and probably this year, despite who may be in the bullpen at the start. Bullpen arms too many times aren’t effective the entire season, and will need to be refreshed. Last season, Stutes wasn’t on the ML roster at the season’s beginning, Lidge and Contreras were injured, and Baez and Romero were released mid-year.

  4. bacardipr05

    January 24, 2012 at 5:41 am

    I dont hate Lidge, but on the same token i dont want to see him back as a Phil. I dont know how much is left in that arm. We already have 1 huge ? in Contreras and who knows what we will get out of Willis to be honest. Im not sure about Francisco, I would hate the Phils to tie up too much on him.

  5. TheDipsy

    January 24, 2012 at 8:18 am

    I would take Cordero is he came down to 3 mill. Lidge is shot. Not only is his shoulder destroyed but so are his knees. Thank you for 2008. I am satisfied to go to spring training with what we have.

    The Dipsy

  6. Chuck A.

    January 24, 2012 at 9:06 am

    @Greg….. Pay no attention to AFW. Ignore him…. most of the rest of us have and it works just fine. He makes no sense with his endless babble about the same old tired thing every time he comes on here. Think of it like this – You’re taking a nice walk on a sunny, warm afternoon in the Spring and suddenly you come across an area where there’s all this dogshit. Piles and piles of it from God-knows-how-many dogs. Do you step in the shit and ruin your walk?? Or simply move around it and avoid it and keep on going on your merry way?


    As for the relievers…. I agree with Pat that we need to see what these young guys have. MAYBE if either one of them were super cheap you take a chance, but that’s about it.

  7. Mazinman

    January 24, 2012 at 10:47 am

    The problem I see Pat is that all 4 of those guys for the 8th and 9th have question marks. Contreras has injury issues, Stutes is still young, Willis has not done this before, and Bastardo had that bad end to the year. None of the four fill me with confidence right now as a backup closer. If we knew for sure that Contreras was healthy or Bastardo’s issues were fixed then by all means bring in the kids. Without that certainty I would appreciate they bring in a backup.


    January 24, 2012 at 10:54 am

    I also agree with Pat. Let’s see what our young guns have to offer.

  9. Ryan H

    January 24, 2012 at 11:08 am

    unfortunately they already said yes to one washed up closer in papelbon. that’ll be more than enough thank you.

  10. RatBastardNJ

    January 24, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    I am also extremely wary of both Lidge and Cordero. If the plan is to give the youngsters even more time maybe other cheaper options could be considered…Linebrink, Wheeler or Harden. Cheaper alternatives with veteran experience.

  11. Bob D

    January 24, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    The young guns in AAA are likely to be better than most of these guys mentioned. Need a cheaper younger bullpen for 2012 and beyond. In just a year or 2 the top bullpen arms on the Phils will likely be Papelbon, Bastardo, DeFrautus, Aumont, and Schwimmer.

    Atlanta was able to build a young and good pen.

  12. betasigmadeltashag

    January 24, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    I think too with this team you can take your chances on seeing what the young arms can do, if they can not there will be pleanty of bull pen guys availiable before the trade deadline. I personally do have confidence in Bastardo and Stutes. Bastardo hit a bad streach, but it was also his first real full season in the majors and he will learn from that grind, along with Stutes, I think there experience will just help them and they will be stronger the whole year. I doubt he would take it but if you offered Lidge a minor league contract with an invite to ST that would not be a bad thing, even if it is proven he has nothing left you cut him.

  13. Lefty

    January 24, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    If this is true, RA Jr. seems to be in love with spending on RP’s that are a dime a dozen. Can’t come to terms on an extension with one of the greatest left-handed starters in the game today, but has the resources for old broken down guys to pitch one inning. I know the market is shrinking, but I don’t think you get a guy like Cordero for less than 3-4m. His peripheral stats are no longer impressive. I wouldn’t do it for half that, (might be why no one let’s me do it, huh?) Again let me qualify -if this is true- , it’s just plain peculiar and perplexing to me.

  14. Chuck A.

    January 24, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Did I read above corectly that Papelbon is “washed up” ???

  15. George

    January 24, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    Yep, you read that right! I can only assume that Ryan H meant that Papelbon keeps himself clean.

  16. Psujoe

    January 24, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    I’ll take Howard at 5/125 over Fielder 9/214 any day! Cordero gets 4.5 from the jays so no need to worry about him. Definitely should stay with the youth.

    • Phillibuster

      January 24, 2012 at 7:37 pm

      Taking that nasty, long-term contract makes marginally more sense in the AL than the NL… Especially given the way that the pitchers have been migrating. However, if “Ace” pitchers start moving the other way before 2020, this would come back to bite the Tigers even harder than they probably already expect.

  17. Lefty

    January 24, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    Blue Jays signed Cordero, 4.5m. Obviously that’s not the best news of the day, but still good.

  18. Brooks

    January 24, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Andrew is consistent – I’ll say that.
    He loathes Don M. and for those that don’t remember how it started: Don Posted some articles here and AFW was miffed. That is where it started.
    Cordero, are you kidding me? Seriously say NO

  19. Don M

    January 24, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    It started when he constantly bashed everything Phillies and would go on rants about Howard’s lack of an RBI in the 2010 nlcs…. On almost a daily basis, Even when the post topic had nothing to do with Howard, etc ..After one of his rants (which many of you have now tried to make any sense of)… I told him his rants/posts read like a 3rd grade book report.. He then tried to accuse me of correcting people for spelling/grammar, to which I replied that wasn’t the case, but when the complete interaction of people on a blog is based on what we type- it helps when others can understand each post.

    I’ve tried on multiple occasions to squash the kids cyber issues with me, to no avail… He insists on calling people “idiots, morons, retards” etc…

    From comments over the past few days, it seems that others are as bored of his attacks as I am.. I’ve asked recently if he could try to actually discuss baseball on this baseball blog in the year 2012, I guess we’ll have to wait and see if that ever happens.

    Pat, Brian, and crew .. Please feel free to delete this if you see fit, just wanted to explain this issue as it doesn’t seem to be going away. Thanks, Don

  20. EricL

    January 24, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    I agree with the Pat/Dr. Stragelove/others theory that you really shouldn’t be spending exorbitant sums of money on bullpen help and have enough guys who have shown something at the minor league level to give them every opportunity to fill those roles.

    Especially so with the Phils so close to the luxury tax threshold.

    So it’s a bit of a relief to see Cordero head off to somewhere else, even if the price wasn’t that outrageous.

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